Kid age 1-2 sitting in the green grass with a white hat on. Kid is seen from the side
Photo: Manja Vitolic

Partnership for compostable diapers

What if diaper waste could be turned into energy and high-quality compost?


Diaper waste from daycares and kindergartens provides an interesting opportunity to support the transition towards a circular economy.

Firstly, they represent a significant amount of resources. Every year, daycares and kindergartens operated by the City of Copenhagen generate an estimated 1.500 tons of diaper waste. This large amount of waste is incinerated to produce heat and electricity, rather than recycled as a resource to fuel the circular economy.

Secondly, unlike nappies from households, the composition of nappies in daycares and kindergartens can be controlled as they are subject to a centralized public procurement function for diapers. This opens up the possibility of achieving a much more uniform waste fraction that is easier to manage and keep in a closed loop.

Conventional diapers include a significant share of different types of plastic, including polypropylene and "superabsorbent polymers" (SAPs). They also contain cellulose fibres. When these materials are burned, they release greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Theoretically, fully compostable diapers can be kept in the renewables and biobased loop of the circular economy if they are colleced and treated as a separate waste fraction.

Compostable diapers
The first 100% compostable diapers are very near to market. And along with the introduction of compostable nappies, the first private collection schemes for near-compostable diapers for composting purposes have already been tested and implemented in i.a. Germany, France, Indonesia, and the United States.

Aim of the partnership
The partnership aims to produce detailed knowledge and data on the use of compostable diapers as well as waste sorting, collection and treatment. At the same time, the partnership will look at the purity of the resulting compost product. All results will be published here on the site. At the same time, they will form the basis for a subsequent decision proposal regarding the introduction of compostable nappies in Copenhagen Municipality's institutions.

The partnership includes:
Circular Copenhagen
Transition ApS
Bacess A/S
Valmed A/S
Social Action ApS
Frederiksberg Municipality

Contact us for further information.